AIE flight to Doha cancelled

Permission to land in Doha denied; likely to be operated tomorrow

The Vande Bharat Mission to bring back the stranded Non-Resident Indians suffered a setback on the fourth day of the repatriation exercise with the Qatar authorities denying permission to the Air India Express (AIE) flight to land in Doha international airport on Sunday. Following the denial, the Air India Express IX 0374 flight from Doha to Thiruvananthapuram international airport was cancelled.

Thiruvananthapuram District Collector K. Gopalakrishnan and the airline officials confirmed that landing permission was denied to the flight but were unaware of the reason for the denial by the Qatar authorities.

The cancelled flight is likely to be operated from Doha on Tuesday.

The Boeing 737-800 aircraft was scheduled to fly from Kozhikode at 1 p.m. on Sunday to Doha to bring back the 181 stranded expatriates mostly from Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta and adjoining Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu.

The six-member crew had reached the Karipur international airport and the aircraft was ready to take off to Doha at the scheduled time.

Passengers upset

The delay on the part of the authorities to convey the cancellation of the flight to the passengers in Doha had upset many who had reached the airport well ahead of departure time.

This is the first time that the cancellation of the flight is upsetting the schedule of the Vande Bharat Mission in which 64 flights are to be operated till May 13.

Air India Express, which has been tasked to operate 23 flights in the Phase I of the Mission, is operating 14 flights to the four international airports of the State. The AIE flight from Doha is the lone repatriation flight operating to the State capital.

Arrangements

The cancellation came as the Airports Authority of India and the State government made all arrangements to receive the passengers who were scheduled to land here at 10.45 p.m.

The District Collector and the city police officers were in the T-2 terminal till noon reviewing the arrangements.

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